Five activists from the nascent gay
rights group GetEQUAL
are staging a sit-in at Arizona Senator John McCain's office.
In a Twitter post, the group said:
“FIVE PROTESTERS ARE SITTNG IN McCAIN'S OFFICE RIGHT NOW – Call
his office 2 voice support 4 repeal #DADT.”
McCain is the leading voice among
Republicans that oppose repeal of “don't ask, don't tell,” the
1993 law that prescribes discharge for gay troops that do not remain
celibate or closeted.
Earlier in the month, McCain told the
Daily Star that the military ban on open gay service is not a
civil rights issue.
“No. No, I don't,” McCain answered
when asked “Do you see it as some have put it as a civil rights
“As Colin Powell said when 'don't
ask, don't tell' was first inaugurated, there's a difference between
sexual preference and the color of one's skin. That was General
Powell's statement,” he added.
While McCain acknowledged that Powell
has since come out in support of repeal of “don't ask, don't tell,”
the law that prescribes discharge for gay troops who do not remain
celibate or closeted, he added: “I don't think he views it now as a
civil rights issue, though.”
When asked if he had sought out the
opinion of gay troops in making his conclusion, McCain answered that
that would be “nuts.”
The 73-year-old McCain, the ranking
Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, has said that he
believes the ban is working.
“I'm convinced that it is working and
has worked well,” he added.
GetEQUAL is led by lesbian activist
Robin McGehee. The group is also behind last week's “don't ask”
action that interrupted President
Obama as he spoke at a fundraiser in California for fellow Democrat
Senator Barbara Boxer and a
House committee disruption urging movement on ENDA, an employment
gay protections bill stuck in the committee.
UPDATE: All 5 protesters were taken
into custody. A rally in support of the protesters will begin at 5PM
in Phoenix at 5353 N. 16th St.